me me me
There’s something maddening about being a writer. As we write, we change our relationship with words, which in turn changes our relationship with reality. Our reality then changes our relationship with words. And on it goes.
It’s a funny thing to try to narrate an experience, because the very narration of any experience changes the experience. I’ve found this to be an inescapable paradox that often leads me to a sort of baffled silence, unable to say anything without tainting what’s been seen or lived.
And then, like an addict, I pick up the pen again for my daily dose of WORDS. Will they liberate me? Imprison me? Lead me down an unexpected path? Delight or amuse? Your guess is as good as mine. Here we are once again in the casino of story-coined slot machines.
Last week at Foster we worked with over thirty writers on their about pages, setting up a few workshops, editing their bios, facilitating some light coaching. I also wrote my own about page, which amplified an already high baseline of existential angst.
About pages are so self-referential, writing one can elicit a lot of violent cringing. If I had kept my laptop camera on while writing mine you would have seen contortions in my facial expression that you might not have thought possible for a human to make.
In writing about myself, I face all of the stories I tell about who I am. Can I really bear telling those stories once again? I reevaluate whether they’re even true or make any sense at all. It’s stories all the way down, including this Story of Self. I come in direct contact with the enormous role that identity plays in my life and how far it sometimes takes me from the bliss of the moment before me.
“Jeez it’s everywhere!” I thought while writing, “in the cracks and crevices, in the air and in the water!” My inescapable selfhood intertwined with all of life. This About Page, haunting me day to day.
Bostonian friends would probably harass me at this juncture and say, “dude, it’s not that deep.” They know a thing or two about living a less narrated existence.
But all writing is quite self-ridden, isn’t it? Even if the writer doesn’t realize it. It’s impossible to write about anything objectively. In every piece of writing a part of ourselves shows up. We lay partially naked on the page, often in ways that we don’t even notice (yet).
I think of all those times I’ve gone back to old posts or journal entries and thought, “wow I was so _____ back then.” Well, someone is thinking that right now about my about page, or about my about me, or about me.
I don’t know what I don’t know, but at some point I’ll probably find out and blush about it. Such is life, I suppose.